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Young Harrison Ford: Amazing Throw-Back Photos that You Have to See to Believe

From early 1960s westerns to 'Star Wars' to 'Indiana Jones'— see the handsome star through the years!

Like a fine wine, Academy Award-nominee Harrison Ford has only gotten better with time. Since the late ’60s, the octogenarian actor has had a long and varied career, bringing to life iconic characters like Han Solo and Indiana Jones and winning over fans of all ages. Before achieving fame and recognition, a young Harrison Ford described himself as a “late bloomer” and took a drama class in the final quarter of his senior year at Wisconsin’s Ripon College to get over his shyness.

Though he ultimately dropped out and married his college sweetheart Mary Marquardt in 1964, those acting lessons certainly paid off, as he soon began acting in local plays and worked his way up to bit parts in movies. His earliest roles, in movies like 1966’s Dead Heat on a Merry-Go-Round and 1967’s Luv were so small they went uncredited, but he’d soon get his first-ever screen credit (as “Harrison J. Ford” — though Ford didn’t actually have a middle name, this was meant to avoid a mixup with a silent film actor with the same name) in the Western A Time for Killing.

Harrison Ford Young in a Time for Killing
Harrison Ford on the set of A Time for Killing, 1967Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images

TV came calling throughout the late ’60s and early ’70s, as Ford appeared in episodes of Gunsmoke, Ironside, The F.B.I. and several other popular shows. Unhappy with the roles he was being offered, Ford became a self-taught professional carpenter with a celebrity client list (including writer Joan Didion and musician Sergio Mendes). 

Young Harrison Ford headshot
Harrison Ford’s headshot in the 1970sSunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images

But in the early 1970s, Ford finally got his big break and soon starred in some of the most iconic moments on the silver screen of the last 60 years. He’s since starred in more than 40 films. Here’s a look back at some of young Harrison Ford’s most notable TV shows, movies and moments over the years.

1973: American Graffiti

Harrison Ford, 'American Graffiti,' 1973
Harrison Ford as Bob Falfa in American Graffiti Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

In 1973, Ford played Bob Falfa, a drag racer in early-’60s California, in American Graffiti, the second movie directed by George Lucas. Working with Lucas would be pivotal for Ford’s career, as the director hired him just a few years later for his first starring role, in a little 1977 movie known as Star Wars. The rest is space-opera history, and Ford became known as one of Hollywood’s coolest, most charismatic leading men.

1977: Star Wars

Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford, 'Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope,' 1977
Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford in Star Wars: Episode IV — A New HopeSunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images

As the swaggering space icon Han Solo, Ford became a household name, and Star Wars became one of the most successful movies of all time, spawning a major franchise and changing Hollywood — and pop culture — forever.

By the time he was cast as Han Solo, Harrison Ford was already in his 30s — which is young in the real world but considered a late start in Hollywood. When it comes to aging, Ford takes a philosophical and humorous approach. “I’m like old shoes,” he’s said — as a late bloomer, he had time to come into his own without growing up in public or being seen as a flavor of the month.

In fact, not being an overnight success worked in Ford’s favor. “I was 35 when I first hit with Star WarsI had some degree of maturity and some degree of experience, yet physically I still looked young,” he told Empire Magazine. “That had been an impediment early on in my career, but then it turned out to be an advantage.”

1980: The Empire Strikes Back

Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Anthony Daniels and Peter Mayhew, 'Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back,' 1979
Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Anthony Daniels and Peter Mayhew in Star Wars: Episode V — The Empire Strikes BackLucasfilm/Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images

The dazzling success of Star Wars spawned multiple sequels, and in 1980, Ford reprised the role of Han Solo in Star Wars: Episode V — The Empire Strikes Back.

1981: Raiders of the Lost Ark

Harrison Ford, 'Raiders of the Lost Ark,' 1981
Ford as Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost ArkSunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images

In 1981, Ford played the title character in Raiders of the Lost Ark, Steven Spielberg’s thrilling tribute to ’30s adventure stories. Ford excelled as a smart, swashbuckling charmer and he’d play Indy five more times in the next four decades.

1982: Blade Runner

Harrison Ford, 'Blade Runner,' 1982
Harrison Ford in Blade RunnerStanley Bielecki Movie Collection/Getty Images

Harrison played Rick Deckard, a police officer in then-futuristic 2019 Los Angeles, in Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner. This moody, film noir-inspired sci-fi tale had a highly influential aesthetic, and is often considered one of the greatest films in the genre.

1983: Tying the knot

Harrison Ford and Melissa Mathison, 1983
Harrison Ford and Melissa MathisonFrank Edwards/Fotos International/Getty Images

After splitting from Marquardt in 1979, Ford married his second wife, Melissa Mathison, in 1983 a screenwriter who worked with Steven Spielberg on E.T. the Extraterrestrial. Ford and Mathison had two children but separated in 2000.

1985: Witness

Harrison Ford, 'Witness,' 1985
Harrison Ford as Detective Sergeant John Book in WitnessHulton Archive/Getty Images

In 1985, Ford starred as John Book, a detective protecting an Amish woman and her young son, in Witness. This intense dramatic role earned him Oscar and Golden Globe nominations for Best Actor.

1988: Working Girl

Melanie Griffith, Harrison Ford and Sigourney Weaver, 'Working Girl,' 1988
Melanie Griffith, Harrison Ford and Sigourney Weaver in Working GirlSunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images

In 1988, Ford played Jack Trainer, a dashing businessman, in Working Girl. The movie captured the spirit of the workplace striving in the ’80s, and showed Ford was just as memorable in a rom-com as a sci-fi movie. As he said in The Hollywood Reporter, “It was a tactic of mine at the time to look for something different to what I had lately done,” and Working Girl let him do something new.

1992: Patriot Games

Anne Archer and Harrison Ford, 'Patriot Games,' 1992
Anne Archer and Harrison Ford in Patriot GamesParamount/Getty Images

In 1992, Ford returned to an action-packed world in Patriot Games. He played Jack Ryan, a character created by writer Tom Clancy. Ryan has been the subject of many books and movies, and been played by leading men like Alec Baldwin, Ben Affleck, Chris Pine and John Krasinski in addition to Ford.

2002: The beginning of a long relationship

Calista Flockhart and Harrison Ford, 2002
Calista Flockhart and Harrison Ford, 2004Robert Mora/Getty Images

More action movies, like The Fugitive, Clear and Present Danger and Air Force One, followed in the ’90s. In the early ’00s, Ford reached a major milestone in his personal life, as he began dating Ally McBeal star Calista Flockhart after they met at the 2002 Golden Globe Awards.

2003: Getting his star

Harrison Ford, 2003
Harrison Ford at the Hollywood Walk of FameFrank Trapper/Corbis via Getty Images

In 2003, Harrison Ford was honored with a well-deserved star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

2010: A second marriage

Harrison Ford and Calista Flockhart, 2010
Harrison Ford and Calista FlockhartFrazer Harrison/Getty Images

In 2010, Ford and Flockhart married in Santa Fe, New Mexico, when Ford was filming Cowboys and Aliens.  Romantic love is one of the most exciting and fulfilling kinds of love and I think there is potential for it at any stage in your life,” Ford told Hello! Magazine. They have a son, Liam, whom Flockhart adopted in 2001.

2013: 42

Chadwick Boseman and Harrison Ford, 2013
Chadwick Boseman and Harrison FordJeffrey Mayer/WireImage/Getty Images

In 2013, Ford played real-life Brooklyn Dodgers general manager Branch Rickey in 42, a historical sports drama starring the late Chadwick Boseman as Jackie Robinson. For the part, he wore a fat-suit and some facial prosthetics, which made him look very different from the dashingly handsome Ford we usually think of. Ford’s said this is one of his underrated roles, and told Entertainment Weekly, “I was very anxious to play the part because I really connected with the character and I think the story is really important. I loved the language of the guy; I loved his style.”

2022: 1923

Harrison Ford, '1923,' 2022
Harrison Ford in 1923James Minchin III/Paramount+

Ford started out in westerns and small TV roles decades ago, and in 2022 he’s came back to the small screen in a bigger role than ever before, starring in 1923. The series is a prequel to the popular Kevin Costner-starring Western Yellowstone, and Ford plays Jacob Dutton, a weathered and weary rancher, opposite Helen Mirren.  

(Click here for jaw-dropping photos of Helen Mirren when she was young and how 1923 was one of the most expensive shows ever made!)

2023: Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny

Harrison Ford attends the "Indiana Jones And The Dial Of Destiny" UK Premiere at Cineworld Leicester Square on June 26, 2023 in London, England
Harrison Ford this yearMike Marsland/WireImage/Getty Images

This year, Ford starred in the fifth installment of the franchise with Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny. Ford has said this will be his last Indiana Jones movie, but the character never gets old. It’s hard to believe the suave star is now in his 80s, but he has a truly admirable philosophy. As he told People, “I don’t want to be young again. I was young, and now I enjoy being old.”

From a young carpenter and bit player on TV to the megastar of cinema’s most beloved franchises, Harrison Ford’s long career has been nothing short of amazing.

For more famous faces in their youth, read below!

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20 Throwback Photos of Tom Selleck Young That Prove He’s Always Been a Hunk

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